Wallabies keeping an eye on club rugby

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

NIck Phipps owes plenty to Sydney Uni and the Wallabies halfback will be one of the spectators at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, when Norths and Uni fight it out in the Shute Shield final.

Phipps was plucked from third grade by Tom Carter, who is playing his final game for uni on Saturday, and went on to play in a number of premierships with the Sydney heavyweight.

“I'll definitely be heading out there having a look,” he said.

“I think it's going to be a great final. It's great to see Norths there in the final, led around by Angus Sinclair and Angus Ta'avao at  the moment and they're doing really well with the squad they've got.

“Sydney Uni as well they’re always there and top pointy end of the year. Looking forward to watching the captain- coach Tom Carter play his last game for Sydney Uni and there's a lot of young blokes in that squad as well.

“There's no excuse not to get out there, it's going to be a cracking day and it's great grassroots footy.

“That's where we're getting our next Waratahs from back there and all the states will be watching that final as well.

Phipps paid tribute to club veteran Carter, who is hoping for one last trophy.

“When you have the privilege to be around him a bit, you get to know him a lot better and he's an absolutely fantastic bloke, very passionate and loyal," he said.

“They're the traits that you want in one of your friends. Hopefully they'll be able to send him out on a high because he certainly deserves it.”

A beneficiary of the system, Phipps said he couldn’t praise the club system more highly.

“Club rugby is such a pure part of the game, the fans love it, no nonsense, it's just some good tough rugby,” he said.

“I think that's what we've got to keep building on and keep encouraging a lot of our players out of school and working full-time to get down, have a good game and have some fun.”

Queensland’s Premier Rugby champion will be decided on Sunday, with UQ and Brothers fighting it out and while Nick Frisby is a neutral, he’s been keeping his eye on the teams this season

Frisby's club is GPS in Brisbane’s inner west and is tipping Brothers, who beat the Red Heavies a fortnight ago, to take the trophy.

“I've had one eye on it,” he said.

“I haven't seen too many games but the Uni side they're a good group of young  kids, an exciting group of young kids and they've been the benchmark all year.

“Coming up against a Brothers side with a big forward pack and a wealth of experience it should be a really good game and my tip, I think, is Brothers.”

Northern Suburbs takes on Sydney Uni at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, kicking off at 3:10pm or live on 7Two in Sydney.

Brothers tackles UQ at Ballymore on Sunday, kicking off at 3pm or live streamed on the Queensland Reds Facebook page.